Big Purse Craze Causing Health Concerns

A current trend for the leading ladies of Hollywood is to weigh less and carry more.  The so-called “big purse craze” has set off a virtual fashion arms race; purses keep getting bigger and bigger.  Oversized handbags have two advantages that I see: they make you look smaller and allow you to be prepared for anything.  Lugging around a giant bag filled with crap everywhere you go however, is not necessarily a good choice ergonomically speaking.

oversized handbag

Martin Roberts from Reuters reports (excerpts:)

With big handbags becoming a key fashion accessory for women, health experts are warning they can also become a key health concern.

“I see so many women with neck pains and headaches and what I usually do is look for their purse and pick it up,” said Jane Sadler, a family practice physician on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center in Garland, Texas.

“We take it over to the scale and weigh it and usually they’re anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds (3.1-4.5 kgs)…We’re really going to see women with more and more problems later on if we continue the big purse craze.”

Professor Alan Hedge, an ergonomics specialist at Cornell University in New York state, says:

Traditionally women adopted better postures for carrying loads, such as baskets on heads or strapping a papoose across the back, but placing objects on one shoulder was one of the least efficient ways of carrying a load.

“This causes a great imbalance. You only have to see people carrying bags in shopping centers, looking hunched up like Quasimodo,” he said.

What did ever happend to carrying things on our heads?  I would love to see that be the next Hollywood trend; imagine Nicole Richie with her little dog balanced delicately on her head.